Date of Degree
Architecture | Asian Art and Architecture | Asian History | Other Architecture
Lahore, Pakistan, Punjab, Mughal, British, monuments, history
The Pakistani city of Lahore is the capital of the Punjab province. The city itself has existed for over a thousand years. In 1947 the British rule in the Indian subcontinent ended, resulting in the partition of British India into the modern states of India and Pakistan. At the time the Punjab province was also partitioned, with the western half (including Lahore) going to Pakistan and the eastern half being awarded to India. Prior to partition, Lahore served as an important administrative and commercial center under the Mughal Empire (1526–1799), the Sikh Empire (1799–1849), the British East India Company (1849–1858), and the British government (1858–1947) when it took direct control of India. Several of the monuments built in and around Lahore under the Mughals, the Sikhs, and the British have survived. They are reminders of the vital role the city has played throughout the history of the Indian subcontinent.
The Mughals were patrons of architecture, who left behind a rich heritage. Through an examination of select buildings, this paper will show that the Mughals built impressive structures in and around Lahore, as they did throughout the Indian subcontinent, not only for utilitarian purposes but also to impress their subjects with their power, influence, and importance. By examining a building from the Sikh–era and comparing it with the Mughal–era buildings, this paper will show how the architectural style of the Mughals lived on after their influence had ended. Like the Mughals, the British considered infrastructure essential for projection of power and maintenance of control. By examining the architecture of select buildings from the British period, this paper will demonstrate how the British combined the elements of the Mughal architectural style with European architectural elements as well as appropriated Mughal cultural symbols, in order to seek legitimacy and present themselves to the Indians as almost indigenous rulers and logical heirs to the great Mughals.
Lahore’s monuments are reminders of the roles various rulers have played in the city’s history. They represent Pakistan’s equally important Mughal and British legacies. Pakistanis readily identify themselves with the Mughals because they were Muslim rulers. However, Lahore and Pakistan’s British legacy includes infrastructure, an education system, and the court system, among others. Therefore, all of Lahore’s monuments are an important part of the city’s history. They are all worth preserving.
Din, Naeem U., "Shadows of Empire: The Mughal and British Colonial Heritage of Lahore" (2018). CUNY Academic Works.